What Every Marketer Needs to Know About the Internet of Things

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19 Aug What Every Marketer Needs to Know About the Internet of Things

Take enough trips to your local water cooler or the office break room, and chances are you’re going to hear a conversation about the Internet of Things (IoT). Many people may view IoT as little more than Wi-Fi connections to nifty gadgets that would make the kid in all of us green with envy, but most marketers know that IoT has capabilities that go way beyond smart toasters and talking coffee makers.

Imagine the ability to connect online lives with tangible ones, providing consumers with seamless experiences that meld digital media with real-life devices. No longer will consumers have to worry about leaving the stove on before heading out of town or fretting over their energy bills during the trip back. With a few simple swipes on their smartphones or tablets, IoT technology could give consumers the capability to control connected devices like thermostats and home appliances from half a world away.

Marketers today know that IoT has the capacity to revolutionize the way consumers purchase household items, drive their cars, monitor their own hearts… IoT may even put a futuristic spin on diet and exercise by comparing workout data collected by wearable tech with what’s left in the user’s fridge. On the surface, it seems as though the Internet of Things is capable of anything and everything, with no inherent downsides to the enormous amount of soon-to-be-connected devices.

This is the part where a big disclaimer for the Internet of Things should be on full display, warning marketing departments about the fundamental challenges IoT will certainly bring along with it. Unfortunately, many marketers haven’t gotten the message, and by the time they do, it could be too late to effectively react.

There are several ways marketers can prepare themselves for the rise of the Internet of Things. Here are three things your marketing department needs to know to set itself on the right track, long before data-streaming smart watches are as ubiquitous as the smartphones they currently depend on.

Prepare for the onslaught of Big Data  

Many marketers are already working hard to get ahead of the Big Data problem that coincides with the Internet of Things, and for good reason. According to a study by Cisco, a whopping 50 billion devices are expected to join the ranks of the connected by 2020. That’s 250 devices streaming valuable data that will be connected per second, every day of the week. If your marketing department is already treading water just to keep up with current data streams, you’ll be resting comfortably in Davy Jones’ Locker within the next five years if you fail to take action.

If marketers are going to efficiently process Big Data, something that has become synonymous with the Internet of Things, then organizations may have to consider changing up their current infrastructures to accommodate new challenges. This could include creating entirely new positions within your department dedicated solely to data analysis and interpretation. You may also consider supplementing your living, breathing workforce with powerful tools and software designed to sort and classify strategic categories in a fraction of the time it could take an entire team of analysts to do so.

Address customer concerns 

When we start talking about information, it tends to put most consumers on high alert. It’s not an unwarranted reaction, either, especially when marketers consider the Big Data breaches that made headlines around the world in 2014. Many consumers that are already connected to the Internet through smartphones, tablets, wearables, and PCs are well aware of the risks associated with misused personal data.

Although organizations have already addressed privacy concerns through what have become traditional ways of combating data breaches, the billions of devices that will be streaming personal information 24/7 will present new challenges for marketers dependent on building consumer trust with their brands. That’s why it is so important for every marketer to adhere to a policy of honesty and authenticity with their customers.

Keeping your company’s marketing intentions truthful and forthright will alleviate much of the concern that is bound to arise from the increase in information collected via the Internet of Things in the coming years. Your organization can get a head start by assuring customers of your helpful and valuable marketing intentions. Letting them know that you’re only using IoT data to deliver meaningful, personalized experiences–while keeping your company’s data collection efforts transparent–will build brand trust while putting consumer minds at ease.

You wouldn’t want data collected from your devices exploited. Make sure your customers can rest easy knowing that your organization won’t misuse theirs.

Get ahead of the game before it’s too late  

The Internet of Things is only getting bigger, making right now the right time to address any weak links in your marketing department’s chain. Maybe you’re data-rich and information-poor, simply storing Big Data without the proper tools to effectively analyze and interpret it. Or maybe your company is still in the dark regarding the immense marketing opportunities that a world full of IoT devices promises to deliver. But forward-thinking companies that continue to plan for the marketplace of the future are the ones that are going to be monopolizing from the Internet of Things, leaving the competition in the wake of their digital dust.

If addressing problems like Big Data and analytics seems too intimidating to tackle all at once, just find a single place to start and go from there. Set weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals that break down the steps your organization needs to take to prepare itself for the influx of connected devices via the Internet of Things. Your laundry detergent isn’t going to reorder itself tomorrow, but a world full of steady streaming IoT devices is coming sooner rather than later. Will your organization be ready?


Source: Marcel Boucher, Senior Architect & Evangelist, Marketing Cloud Lighthouse Team at Adobe

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